Towards Semantically-Enabled Next Generation Community Health Information Portals: The PopSciGrid Pilot

We describe an approach to developing next generation health information portals. This prototype portal was developed to address two complementary goals (1) design and create a site where people can explore potential relationships between selected health-related behaviors, policies, and demographic data (2) explore semantic web technologies and linked data as enabling technologies for next generation health informatics portals. Our multidisciplinary team includes population and behavioral scientists, social network scientists, statisticians, and computer scientists focused on creating innovative proof of concept applications that integrate complex health data in understandable and usable ways. Our semantic-web based framework allowed us to design exemplar community health portal applications, with an initial focus on tobacco-related health data such as smoking prevalence and tobacco policies (taxation and smoking bans). We describe our approach, two semantically-enabled tobacco-related applications, and discuss how this approach can be used in a broad spectrum of community health applications.

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The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) PopSciGrid Community Health Portal is an evolving platform demonstrating how health behavior, policy, and demographic data can be integrated, visualized, and communicated to empower communities and support new avenues of research and policy for cancer prevention and control. As a proof of concept for cyber-enabled population health research, the PopSciGrid Portal is designed to encourage trans-disciplinary collaboration, data harmonization, and development of new computational methods for disparate health related data.

The LOGD project investigates the role of Semantic Web technologies, especially Linked Data, in producing, enhancing and utilizing government data published on and other websites. Large portion of government data published on the Web are not necessarily ready for mashups. The Tetherless World Constellation (TWC) is now publishing over 8 billions RDF triples converted from hundreds of government-related datasets from and other sources (e.g.

The Inference Web is a Semantic Web based knowledge provenance infrastructure that supports interoperable explanations of sources, assumptions, learned information, and answers as an enabler for trust.

The Tetherless World Constellation's Health on the Web's primary goal is to explore the next generation web technology needed to improve health. Some current efforts focus on intelligent integration and access of health data, identifcation of data sets, linked data tools for health topics, responses to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report to the president on "Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information Technology to Improve Healthcare for Americans: The Path Forward", and consumer access and control of health data.